Myth number 1: The IOM is a UN agency

IOM Myths Busted

  • Myth number 1: The IOM is a UN agency

False. The IOM is not part of the UN, nor is it a ‘sister agency’. It is a completely separate entity, although the IOM often works in partnership with UN Agencies on specific projects. IOM’s biggest single donor by far is the US Government, which gave $377.6 million in 2011. The UN comes second, with less than half as much ($147.7 million). Third place goes to Colombia, followed by a host of South American nations, which again reflects Washington’s control over the IOM. The UK and other western countries are also major IOM funders.

The current Director General of IOM is William L. Swing, a career diplomat and former US ambassador to DR Congo, Haiti, Nigeria, South Africa and Liberia. Since the IOM’s founding in 1951, 8 out of 9 Director General’s have been American citizens. Radical critics argue that the IOM was designed by the US Government as a counter agency to the UN High Commisioner for Refugees (UNHCR).


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